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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Coon Mountain(Adirondacks)

My second stop for the day was the Nature Conservancy's Coon Mountain Preserve.  This 318-acre preserve is located in the Town of Westport in the Champlain Valley and I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was the only car there when I arrived.  To find the trail, I took exit 31 off the northway to the tiny village of Wadhams and then went east on backroads to gravel Halds Road, where a parking lot is found on the left(north) side of the road.  A small kiosk and preserve sign mark the beginning of the trail.
I took the summit trail, where a small junction is met just .2 miles into the hike with the Hidden Valley Trail.
The trail passes through a hemlock forest briefly before continuing on an old road through hardwoods.  At the property boundary, the trail turns sharply and begins climbing directly up through a steep, rock strewn ravine.
This part of the climb was quite fun and interesting, with large rocky walls closing in on each side of the trail.
The trail climbs a little over 600 feet in one mile towards the modest 1,017 foot summit.  In actuality, there are 5 separate summits along the ridge.
There are basically two viewing points from the summit rocks.  A northeast view over a sea of green woodland and a nearby home as well as...
..a southeast view towards Northwest Bay on Lake Champlain.
A less panoramic but still superb view can be found from the second(west) viewpoint of nearby farmland with the High Peaks towering in the distance.
Although a short 2 mile RT hike, there is much to see on this mountain and is highly recommended.

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